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Mayor Mashaba to tackle City of Joburg’s infrastructure backlog Print E-mail
08 November 2017
The City's infrastructure is crumbling and there's not enough money to fill the R170 billion gaping hole.

Addressing the media at the new council chamber this morning, 7 November 2017, City of Johannesburg's Executive Mayor, Cllr Herman Mashaba, said: "We had an idea of the challenges that confronted our City, but the truth is that what we encountered was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg."

Mayor Mashaba said the problem was compounded by "blatant act of sabotage from some senior officials working against the new administration and at the expense of residents". He urged City officials to be professionals who served residents despite political affiliations.

"Our role is an unconditional responsibility, a contract with our residents, to turn this City around and get it working. But, when you consider some of our biggest challenges, we must appreciate that they cannot be resolved overnight," Mayor Mashaba said.

He said fraud and corruption, which is rampant in the City, has robbed residents "of the dignity that comes from basic services. Just think of the more than 2000 cases totalling over R16 billion under investigation, and think of how our poor communities could have been serviced with that money."

He promised changes into how the City conducted its business through the "Diphetogo" programme, which seeks to radically transform operations within Joburg.

"As we approach the planning for the next budget cycle I will be making sure that one of our "Diphetogo" has to be massive investment in City infrastructure.

Currently our City's unfunded infrastructure backlog sits at R170 billion over the next 10 years.

"We are going to squeeze every drop of non-essential expenditure in our City towards this purpose. We are going to make the tough decisions that have to be made on matters of lesser priority. Since the City only has R10 billion to address a R170 billion shortfall, the City has to implement urgent intervention measures to address the challenges," Mayor Mashaba said.

The measures include:

• establishing a professional public service to serve our residents with pride;

• getting our City's Municipal Courts functioning again so that the rule of law can be maintained in our city.

• intensifying our fight against fraud and corruption;

• fixing our billing system to ensure residents are correctly billed, and that the City recovers the R5-R10 billion that is lost annually due to under-valuation and non-billing of properties;

• declaring war on criminals who vandalise and steal our infrastructure; and

• kick-starting the city's economic revival by turning the City into a construction site to ensure the long-term provision of low-cost housing and to create job opportunities in the interim.

Mayor Mashaba said that in four years' time, he is envisaging a City where the roads are in a better state than his administration found them in. He added that his vision involved communities who experienced less power outages than they live with right now and had more stable supply of water, and reduced losses in our water-scarce environment.

He urged residents to be patient. "Even if we were to have all the R170 billion at our disposal, it will be massively difficult to effect changes overnight. We're not magicians. My request to our residents is to please bear with us during this period.

"Because the job of saving our City from the imminent collapse of our infrastructure cannot happen overnight. It is a process, not an event. But it is a process through which our residents need to accompany us.

"So when you experience temporary power outages, water stoppages or potholes, I would like you to know that we are working on resolving the inconveniences and problems. I would like our residents to see the construction around the City, and let it be seen as the progress towards a better, more reliable supply of services to our people," Mayor Mashaba said.

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